Summary: May all who come behind us find us committed to God.
Title: Pass It On-Commitment
Text: Haggai 1:1-15
CT: May all who come behind us find us committed to God.
A. In October of 1781, General Cornwallis marched his British troops into Yorktown. The patriots to the south had wreaked havoc on his redcoat army, and he was hoping to rendezvous with the British Navy on Chesapeake Bay.
American and French troops, however, anticipating Cornwallis's plan, pounded them with cannon fire, while the French fleet cut off escape by sea. The British found themselves trapped.
Thomas Nelson, then governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was fighting with the patriots firing the cannons in Yorktown. Gathering the men, he pointed to a beautiful brick home. "That is my home," he explained. "It is the best one in town. And, because of that, Lord Cornwallis has almost certainly set up the British headquarters inside."
And he told the American artillerymen to open fire on his own house.
They did. As the story goes, the very first cannonball shot at Mr. Nelson's house sailed right through the large dining room window and landed on the table where several British officers were eating.
It is one thing for a man to talk about freedom. It is quite another to destroy his own home to help make that freedom a reality. Nelson understood, however, that to hold on to his current life would mean forfeiting the life he was so desperately seeking. A life of true freedom would cost him the stuff of his present life. It was a small price to pay.
On October 19, as the British troops surrendered, the Redcoat band played the song, "The World Turned Upside Down." The song was apt. The world's greatest super-power had just been defeated by an army that couldn't afford to put shoes on its soldiers' feet.
But how can you thwart an army willing to sacrifice everything they currently have, for something infinitely better waiting on the other side?
LS. How could Satan thwart a church willing to sacrifice everything they currently have, for something infinitely better waiting on the other side.
This week we are dealing with our commitment to God and his mission.
Our job as Christian adults and leaders is to pass the baton of our faith to those who come behind us. If the baton is dropped the consequences can be eternal. I am going to the Old Testament this morning to find a story about people who had pushed God down on their priority list and neglected His mission and the change that occurs when they commit to follow God’s plan for their lives.
Haggai 1.1-15. You’ll find this small book stuck right between Zephaniah and Zechariah near the end of the OT.
The year was 520 B.C. Darius was king of the Persian Empire. He was a descendant of Cyrus who had defeated the Babylonians and had allowed the Jews to return to Palestine about 19 years before. When the Jewish people who left Babylon to return to Palestine first arrived they found nothing but ruin and destruction. They rebuilt the altar and laid the foundation for the temple, but then quit for some reason altogether. Times were getting tough for these people. The crops were failing and the dew that was so important to their livelihood was not happening .
A. In the second year of Darius’ reign Haggai goes out among the people as a prophet of God. He has been called to rebuild the Lord’s temple. Let’s go along with him as he ventures out to recruit help and resources. The first house he goes to is near the center of town. A young craftsman owns it. His wife and two children live there as well. Haggai introduces himself and says, “I’m trying to get enough people together to rebuild the Lord’s temple. It’s been almost two decades since any work has been done. Could you help with your labor or donations?”
The man lets Haggai in and introduces him to his wife and kids. They are all well dressed and well fed. The man says, “I’m sorry, but times are really tough, with the drought and all. I just don’t have any extra funds or time. It takes all I can do working 24/7 to just make ends meet.”
Haggai tells the man’ “Well, if you can, we start the 24th with as many as we get.” Haggai turns to leave when he notices the new paneled walls the man was installing. Outside Haggai noticed the new roof the craftsman had just put on his house.
The next house Haggai comes to is the house of a potter. Haggai is invited in. The interior is beautiful with amazing woodwork and beautiful pottery all around. The potter has three sons, but they were off at practice for the local sports team that was going to compete with the next village the following week. The potter is in a rush because he helps with the team as a coach .